MODERN KOREAN CULTURE
By: Temiloluwa Bella
Korean society is fascinating and full of great traditions. It is a magical spot where there is both ideal peace and harmony, but unfortunately, with wars and disasters. Korean society seldom falls short of amazing.
Religion in Korea embraces Confucianism, Christianity, Taoism, and Shamanism as practiced traditionally in Korea, and also in modern North Korea and South Korea.
Shamanism represents Korea’s first religion, from the belief of Dangun; the mythological father of Korea in 2333 B.C. shamanism remained the only religion of Korea until the arrival of Buddhism and Confucianism into Korea. After, Buddhism had the upper hand in Korean religion. Nowadays, many Koreans do not practice shamanism. Korean culture is influenced by Confucian principles which believe in ancestor worship and human-centered values for a peaceful life.
Hanbok is the traditional attire of the Korean people. Nowadays it is only worn on special occasions or anniversaries. It is formal wear and many Koreans keep a hanbok for these occasions.
While the traditional hanbok is beautiful, the design has slowly changed over the generations. The main point of the hanbok is its graceful, bell-like shape and vibrant colors, which have had a major impact on the fashion industry. Now, it is gradually being revolutionized through the changing of fabrics, colors and features, reflecting the latest trend.
Many aspiring hanbok designers have altered hanbok for everyday wear, keeping the traditional base but having a distinctively modern feel. You can now see modern designs of hanbok being used in modern wear, most especially by Kpop idols during performances. You can tell Koreans are proud of their traditional fashion as they do not waste time proudly showing them off.
The Korean language is spoken by about 81.8 million people mainly in South and North Korea. The relationship between Korean and other languages is not known for sure.
About 70% of its vocabulary comes from the Chinese language. The Koreans borrowed a huge number of Chinese words, gave Korean readings and meanings to some of the Chinese characters and also invented about 150 new characters. Hangul is the name of the Korean writing system.
While there are ways of studying Chinese and Japanese rapidly, the Korean alphabet is nothing like Chinese characters. It is far easier to read. The cause for that goes back centuries and lies in its ancestry.